27 March, 2008

Noritake Cheramy China and My Insane Need to Preserve Everything

I've loved these dishes and I've hated these dishes. They are Noritake "Cheramy" china, dating, as far as I can tell from my Googling, to the late thirties or early forties. My parents received them as a wedding gift in--and I'm going to embarrass myself here because I can't remember the exact year; it's late, and I'm a bit fuzzy from too much work, lack of sleep, and a big ol' cocktail--1965, maybe? Crap. I should know this.

Anyway, I remember these as The Special Occasion Dishes. We used them at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and--well, that's about it. Just the Big Three holidays in our family, and maybe for my cousin's bridal shower, and my grandfather's wedding reception. Maybe. I could be wrong, but if there was going to be a celebration where we did use them, those are the biggest events I can conjure up at 4:00 a.m.

They are gorgeous, ethereal dishes, with fine, raised gold trim and so delicate you can see the light shining through them. Far, far, too delicate for anything so uncouth as a dishwasher. And so, like the gold-toned flatware my parents also received as a wedding gift (I think that's when they got them, at any rate), they required hand washing. For a kid used to chucking things in a dishwasher, this was a pain in the asterisk.

But they are so, so beautiful, and when I think of those long ago family holidays, I picture us all sitting at the table, eating turkey or ham or roast goose off of these. (Okay, I've only roasted a goose once ever, and I don't think I actually served it on these dishes. But let's pretend.) Many of those people are gone now. My grandparents, my dad. We don't even use these dishes anymore. I can't recall a time in the last twenty years where we've dragged them out for a family feast.

So why am I having anxiety attacks at the thought of my mom selling them?

She's being practical, of course. She never uses them. I never use them. I don't plan on using them because a) I'm not really the formal entertaining kind of gal and b) did I mention what a pain they are to wash?

My grandparents, who gave my parents the dishes, would be the first to tell her, hells, yes, sell the ol' things and put the money toward fencing the yard or finishing the laundry room or blowing it all on the grandkids or a trip to Vegas. Or London, definitely London. My mom's not really the Vegas sort. They'd support her on the decision. So is it nostalgia, my vice-like grip on the past, or my general pack-rat tendencies (surpassed only by Ted) that make me want to argue the point? Is it whack to never want to use the dishes, but keep them packed away in the closet out of sentimentality?

Okay, okay, Mom (I know you are reading this), I will be putting them on Craig's List this week. We can't keep everything forever. I guess it's time to give them a new home with someone who will appreciate and use them.


BeccaMarie said...

Just a little advice...I'd check out selling them to a place like Replacements Ltd(replacements.com) instead of(or in addition to)Craigslist. I bought a partial set of Susan Anne Noritake china at a yard sale for $10! The lady didn't realize what I had until after she told me the price, I had paid and she was helping me wrap them...she said she was actually asking $100 but didn't realize what I had when I asked the price! When I got home I had to check out the actual value and to buy the few pieces that I have on there would be $230! You can also get an idea of how much to ask for your set by entering the pieces that you have on there and seeing what they sell for. Good luck!

We are in said...

I agree with Beccamarie - if you are going to sell them try to research their value first. I don't know about your craigslist there, but here you'd never get a large enough audience to get a good price.

Ebay is another venue you may want to consider. If they gotta go don't let them go for a song. They're lovely.

Marilyn said...

Ohh....Joanne, I love china. Stacks of china and pictures of stacks like that make me swoon. I'm in Chicago right now - I'll run over and get them!

Just kidding, but they are beautiful and I completely understand. If you are going to sell, Replacements is a very good resource.

Chris said...

Beautiful china. I am sure you've checked the net to find their worth - hope you get a good price for them. We received a similar set from my wife's parents when we were married. We use them about once a year but would never part with them. I can empathise with you. Much to my wife's dismay, I save EVERYTHING and then worse, I build those collections by purchasing stuff to go with the things we have.

Amalie said...


That post made me sad. My mother also has a similar set that was used for the Big Three only, and hasn't been used in years. We don't really have family gatherings anymore.

But they still sit on display (if stacked on the lower shelves of a glass-fronted china cabinet is a showcase location) in my mom's dining room, and someday I plan on keeping them at my house never used and stored away on a shelf for the cats to knock over...on second thought...maybe they're better off with a new home...

So I do not think it's unreasonable to want to keep them and never use them. But I guess we all have to let go of stuff sometime, huh?

Joanne said...

Hi everyone--I appreciate the comments and concern! I have researched the prices already, including with Replacements Ltd., so have a pretty good idea of what they're worth (it's also why I can even think to let my mom sell them if we're not using them). We thought we'd try locally on CraigsList.com because eBay takes a whopping commission. If we don't get our price, we don't sell.

Jean Martha said...

Oh man, this broke my heart. Can you keep 1 or 2 of the dishes without devaluing the "set"? Maybe? Pretty please? Display 1 or 2 on a wall in the dining room?

Joanne said...

Yeah...I'm campaigning to keep a set of four and sell off a service for eight along with the serving pieces.

There are a few extra saucers, so I'll at least pocket those when Mom's not looking. :-)

Seriously, I understand where she's coming from. We can sell these dishes that we haven't used in 20 or more years and build a deck with an arbor of something which the family will actually use and enjoy on a day to day basis.

Lady Quilter said...

This is a lovely set of dishes, very old and in great shape. However, Joanne may be attached, but as her mom I'm not. Yes, they were a wedding gift, from my parents, who got them from a friend who never used them at all! We estimate age then around 25 years! I received them still in original crates! My parents, and husband would be the first to say sell and have fun with the cash! New fence, for the yard, is starting to look good! They are beautiful dishes but not practical in this day and age.
We can hang onto so much "stuff" . . .I have memories.


Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne - Ted's cousin here. I love your blog! I also love the china, it's absolutely gorgeous. Alas, I am in a year of "Two in College and A Wedding" so no budget for china. Otherwise, I'd buy!


Unknown said...

do you still have this set?...i'm interested because my name is "cheramy". i just found out that there is a china pattern in my name. you can email me at rovianek@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Price plz. I already gave a set to family. I love it and would like to have them.